location: The village of Kijani is situated in Lika and territorially it belongs to the Gračac municipality. According to the 1991 census, Kijani had a population of 222, of which 217 or almost 98 % were Serbs. According to the 2011 census, Kijani had 56 inhabitants.

description of crime: At the start of operation Storm, the great majority of inhabitants in Kijani decided to join the column of refugees and leave their village. However, some villagers who did not wish to leave their houses decided to stay. According to some witnesses, one of the important reasons was that they had heard President Tuđman’s message on the radio that those “without blood on their hands” should not leave.

Between the first time Croatian forces had entered Kijani and the end of September 1955, 14 civilians were killed there, including nine women.


  1. Dane Bolta, 90 years old;
  2. Sava Bolta, around 70 years old;
  3. Branko Jelača, around 67 years old;
  4. Marija Jelača, born in 1913;
  5. Milica Jelača, born around 1927;
  6. Ana Jelača, around 50 years old;
  7. Smilja Jelača, around 90 years old;
  8. Dušan Kesić, born in 1939;
  9. Mileva Kolundžić, around 70 years old;
  10. Danica Sovilj, around 70 years old;
  11. Mara Sovilj, around 75 years old;
  12. Mira Sovilj, around 50 years old;
  13. Radomir Sovilj, born around 1947;
  14. Vlado Sovilj, born in 1931.

Precise circumstances and the time when individual crimes were committed are difficult to establish because none of the direct witnesses are still alive. At one point, Svetko Bolta and Nikola Jelača who had been hiding in the nearby woods from where they had seen what was happening, publicly testified about the horrible details of crimes including rapes and decapitations. They spent two months hiding in Lika forests before they were discovered by the Croatian police. Jelača remained in Gračac and Bolta moved to Serbia. They both died in the meantime.

judicial outcome: Before the County Court council in Rijeka, chaired by judge Ika Šarić, the main hearing began in the criminal procedure against the defendant Rajko Kričković, member of the  Croatian Army’s 118th Home Guard regiment, for the crime committed against civilians following the military-police operation Storm in the period from 15 to 28 August 1995. According to the indictment by the County State Attorney in Rijeka, of the 4th November 2014, the defendant murdered three civilians in the village of Kijani near Gračac. Kričković killed Radomir and Mira Sovilj, a brother and sister, with shots from the automatic rifle, while he torched their mother Mara Sovilj, along with the livestock locked in the ground floor of the house. Mirko Kričković was convicted in March 2019 to ten years in prison in the first instance ruling for the murder of Radomir, Mira and Mara Sovilj.